THE DAMAGING PRICE OF PALM OIL
Scientists estimate in 20 years Orang-utans will become extinct
Palm oil contributes to deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra, the only two places on Earth where orang-utans live.
Trees are cut down for Palm Oil Plantations, but these trees are the Orang-utan's home.
There are only an estimated 6,500 orang-utans left in Sumatra who continue to face threats from deforestation.
An Indonesian court issued a big blow to a palm oil company for illegally destroying forest land in Sumatra’s protected Leuser Ecosystem, which provides critical habitat for orangutans and other endangered species.
In what’s being called a groundbreaking verdict, the court found palm oil company PT Kallista Alam guilty of illegally burning large areas of the Tripa peat forest in the province of Aceh and ordered it to pay roughly $30 million in fines.
An estimated $20 million was allocated for restoration efforts. The court also confiscated land and will be charging a fine for every day the palm oil company delays repayment, reports the Environmental News Service.
“This is a clear message to companies working in Aceh who think they can destroy protected forests and get away with it” said Muhammad Nur, Chairman of WALHI Aceh (Friends of the Earth Indonesia).
According to the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), nearly 90 percent of palm oil is now grown in Indonesia and Malaysia and the growing demand for it has caused the destruction of some of the earth’s most valuable rainforests and continues to do so.
International companies continue to put palm oil that has been produced at the expense of the Tripa peat forest and other areas on the market, while its use as a key ingredient in a variety of foods has made it virtually inescapable.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you buy Handmade ask the Artisan if their products contain Palm Oil.
It isn't easy to simply avoid all products that contain palm oil, partly because it's estimated to be used in more than half of all processed supermarket items including cosmetics, food and personal care items such as soap and shampoo.
But you can choose to buy products that use sustainable Palm Oil and support those companies that have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has created a handy app called the "Palm Oil Shopping Guide" that will help you discern which products are orang-utan-friendly
The APP is available for iPhones and Androids.
Check this link for foods that contain Palm Oil and what other names are given for it in ingredients listings: